“My (pornography) addiction was uncontrollable for 38 years, but I am enjoying four years of recovery and healing,” wrote one man in Hilton’s 2009 book, “He Restoreth My Soul." "I have learned through the 12 Step program how to turn to the Savior for strength to fight this battle on a daily basis. Through the power of the Atonement and the perfect love of Christ, I have received peace and happiness and the scars of the past 38 years are being healed."
Family and friends
While it’s important to focus on the recovering addict, Hilton says it’s also important to care for the spouse. Many are not ready to hear the word “forgiveness,” Hilton said.
“We need to be understanding of people who have been so severely wounded. A spouse who has undergone this terrible betrayal and harm certainly doesn’t need our lectures,” Hilton said. “What they need is a sensitive hand of fellowship, and the recovery groups allow them to interact with other women who have undergone a similar process.”
Hilton knows women who chose to leave their spouses. But he also knows many couples who have patiently worked through the recovery process with brutal honesty, and their marriage has been infinitely strengthened. It’s something LDS Addiction Recovery is sensitive about, Hilton said.
In an April 2007 general conference address, President James E. Faust, then a member of the First Presidency, told of a woman who had been through a painful divorce and received some sound advice from her bishop: “Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in.”
Those who haven’t experienced the addiction recovery process firsthand, or who are unfamiliar with ARP, sometimes miss opportunities to help the “prodigal son” (Luke 15:11-32) on his journey back, Hilton said.
Hilton told of one man whose addiction to pornography cost him his wife and family. After years of attending ARP meetings, he was close to regaining his temple blessings, but was still desperately dependent on recovery support.
One day the man bumped into some old friends, a couple, who knew of his past mistakes. The two men talked, but the woman was so angry she couldn’t speak to the recovering addict. She had been close to his ex-wife.
“The man felt a tremendous wall of anger, so they moved on. He had learned to let resentment go, but knew he couldn’t resent them for feeling that way,” Hilton said. “Still, what I see here is a missed opportunity — an opportunity to help him on the way back.
"Here is a spiritually struggling soul. What a beautiful opportunity we have to serve, to reach out and love such an individual. If we can reach out to them, rather than ostracize them, I think we can pull many more back.”
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